Early Summer 2010 - Weathering the Storm
A couple of summers ago, I was lucky enough to spend a week traveling through Mexico. After seven days of touring the beautiful countryside either by bus or friends' cars, it was time to board my plane and return home.
Now, I'm far from being the worst flier, but I'd be lying if I said the whole enterprise doesn't make me nervous. However, as long as the flight runs relatively smoothly and I can nap or immerse myself in a book, everything is fine.
This wasn't one of those times.
There I sat with my fellow passengers on the tarmac in Guadalajara, waiting for the sudden summer storm to clear. Sitting next to me was a young married couple, with their one-year-old daughter in her mother's lap. So the baby and I killed some time making faces at each other. She eventually dozed off, but by then we were heading down the runway.
The plane was not in the air long before it was wracked with turbulence. The 'Fasten Seatbelt' sign remained emphatically alight as the plane bounced and shuddered. As I'm sure you can imagine, I was less than thrilled. My knuckles were white from gripping the armrests. My chest was tight as a drum, pulled ever tighter with each dip and rise. I closed my eyes and tried to think of happier vistas, but succeeded only in letting my imagination run away with me.
Then a funny thing happened. The infant next to me, fast asleep and sawing toothpicks, shifted in her sleep and her hand fell onto my arm. And as silly as it may sound, the warmth of that human touch, unsolicited and innocent of any intention, melted all the fear and panic out of me. I didn't simply wipe my brow, lie back, and enjoy the ride. But I did release my death grip on my armrests and felt I could breathe again, as if the iron bands around my lungs had been dissolved. Of course the turbulence passed, the plane landed safely, and all ended well.
When turbulence heads our way in our daily rigors and tasks, it's comforting to know that whenever things get to be too much and we feel that tell-tale panic and tension, we often need only to look to the children. Their unbridled joy and engaging innocence serve as steadfast reminders of all that is good in this world. And reciprocally, I think I speak for all of us here at Chinaberry in saying we hope that in some small way we’re helping children weather some of the turbulences of life.